Tuesday, October 30, 2007

L2 British Education

Continuing the education debate Special Reports EducationGuardian.co.uk

In 1991 James Callaghan gave a speech about what he thought were the most important questions facing education in Britain. The speech had an important effect. Much later he wrote about it in this article (follow link)

Monday, October 29, 2007

L2 Trade Unions in the Second world war

Trade Union Movement in Britain

Trade Union Movement in Britain

World War II and its Aftermath

World War II saw a major growth in the strength and status of the trade unions. As in World War I, Labour joined the government within less than a year. Churchill, when forming his government in May 1940, appointed Ernest Bevin, the most powerful trade union figure of the time, as Minister of Labour. Labour nominees became a norm on national and local committees and by 1941 according to the TUC it was “engaged in almost daily consultation” with government.

While strikes and lock-outs were prohibited under Order 1305, Bevin defended the continuance of normal collective bargaining. However, unlike in World War I, this was combined with a policy of price subsidies for items in the cost of living index and rationing, thereby avoiding soaring inflation. These policies avoided the scale of industrial unrest of World War I and the degree of alienation in some sectors that had existed between union leaderships and rank and file activists. Nevertheless, there were unofficial strikes in coal mines and elsewhere, which reached a peak in 1943. Perhaps the most notable dispute was in 1941 at the Betteshanger colliery in Kent over payments for working difficult coal faces, when summonses were issued against all 1,050 underground workers. As with the South Wales miners in 1915, the government in the end avoided imprisoning these defiant miners.

During World War II control of manpower and of the main war production was greatly facilitated by the Essential Work Orders made from March 1941. By these Orders experienced labour could be held in priority work and—as in the controlled establishments of World War I—best practices were adopted in order to maximize output. These included guaranteed minimum wages, a major innovation in such sectors as building, the docks, and the merchant navy, where employers usually relied heavily on casual labour.

Trade union membership went up, in spite of the large numbers of men in the armed forces (4.7 million in June 1945) and women in the Women’s Auxiliary Services (467,500 at its peak in December 1943). In 1943 trade union membership totalled 8.6 million—a density of 43 per cent—with female membership at 1,886,000—a density of 29.9 per cent—making 23.5 per cent of the total.

After the end of the war conditions remained good for trade union growth. The Labour Party formed a majority government under Clement Attlee, with Bevin as Foreign Secretary. The TUC worked closely with the government, assisting it in reconstructing the economy, backing both the drive for greater productivity and the 1948 policy of wage restraint. The trade unions were especially pleased with the government’s nationalization programme, the National Health Service, and other social reforms, and the repeal of the Trades Disputes and Trade Union Act, 1927.

Labour governments took a firm line against strikes and the level of strikes was relatively low. However, between 1947 and 1950 there were four major unofficial strikes in the London docks. Of 14.3 million days lost in industrial disputes between 1945 and 1951, 2.9 million were in the docks and 4 million in the much larger coal-mining industry. By 1950 British trade union membership totalled 9.3 million—a density of 44.7 million—of which 1.8 million were female—a density of 24.7 per cent—being 18.9 per cent of the total.

Contributed By:Christopher John Wrigley, B.A., Ph.D., Litt. D
"Trade Union Movement in Britain," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007http://uk.encarta.msn.com © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
© 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

L2 War posters 1939-1945

WW2 Online Catalog: Britain & CW War Posters

In Britain everyone was mobilized for the war. This required a huge effort in propaganda, and posters were an important part, along with radio, cinema and popular song. On this site you will find a number of posters encouraging people

-to join the army
- to keep military information secret
- to lend money to the government for the war


Sunday, October 28, 2007

L2 - video Normandy landings in full swing during World War 2

YouTube - Normandy landings in full swing during World War 2

The 1944 landings in Normandy were one of the key moments of World war Two. This link takes you to a short film on them. How can you tell this is an official film?

L1 James the first on Tobacco

We know that James the first wrote a book about the monarchy, and worked hard to try to persuade his subjects that he was King because God had decided. He had to work much harder at this than previous Kings...

But he also wrote about other subjects. This is the beginning of a book he wrote against the use of tobacco, which at the time was a new fashion.


That the manifolde abuses of this vile custome of Tobacco taking, may the better be espied, it is fit, that first you enter into consideration both of the first originall thereof, and likewise of the reasons of the first entry thereof into this Countrey. For certainely as such customes, that haue their first institution either from a godly, necessary, or honorable ground, and are first brought in, by the meanes of some worthy, vertuous, and great Personage, are euer, and most iustly, holden in great and reuerent estimation and account, by all wise, vertuous, and temperate spirits: So should it by the contrary, iustly bring a great disgrace into that sort of customes, which hauing their originall from base corruption and barbarity, doe in like sort, make their first entry into a Countrey, by an inconsiderate and childish affectation of Noueltie, as is the true case of the first inuention of Tobacco taking, and of the first entry thereof among vs. For Tobacco being a common herbe, which (though vnder diuers names) growes almost euerywhere, was first found out by some of the barbarous Indians, to be a Preseruative, or Antidot against the Pockes, a filthy disease, whereunto these barbarous people are (as all men know) very much subiect, what through the vncleanly and adust constitution of their bodies, and what through the intemperate heate of their Climate: so that as from them was first brought into Christendome, that most detestable disease, so from them likewise was brought this vse of Tobacco, as a stinking and vnsauorie Antidot, for so corrupted and execrable a Maladie, the stinking Suffumigation whereof they yet vse against that disease, making so one canker or venime to eate out another.

And now good Countrey men let vs (I pray you) consider, what honour or policie can mooue vs to imitate the barbarous and beastly maners of the wilde, godlesse, and slauish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custome? Shall wee disdaine to imitate the maners of our neighbour France (hauing the stile of the first Christian Kingdom) and that cannot endure the spirit of the Spaniards (their King being now comparable in largenes of Dominions to the great Emperor of Turkie). Shall wee, I say, that haue bene so long ciuill and wealthy in Peace, famous and inuincible in Warre, fortunate in both, we that haue bene euer able to aide any of our neighbours (but neuer deafed any of their eares with any of our supplications for assistance) shall we, I say, without blushing, abase our selues so farre, as to imitate these beastly Indians, slaves to the Spaniards, refuse to the world, and as yet aliens from the holy Couenant of God? Why doe we not as well imitate them in walking naked as they doe? in preferring glasses, feathers, and such toyes, to golde and precious stones, as they do? yea why do we not denie God and adore the Deuill, as they doe?[A]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

L2 1936 The Spanish Civil War

YouTube - Si me Quieres Escribir
In 1936 several hundred English supporters of the Spanish Republic went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil - including some famous ones such as George Orwell and John Cornford.

George Orwell wrote a book "Homage to Catalonia" about his experiences.
Much more recently, Ken Loach made a film about the story of a man from Liverpool who went to Spain to fight. The film is called "Land and Freedom". This link takes you to a short extract on Youtube.

NB Youtube may not be accessible from computer son the university campus.

L2 1931 - Ramsay MacDonald appeals for support

YouTube - Ramsay MacDonald appeals for support

The 1930s saw one of the deepest political crises in British history. Ramsay Macdonald, the Labour Prime Minister, decides to set up a National Government which will be made up of a majority of Conservative MPs. As a result, Macdonald is expelled from the Labour party, and is still often considered in the Labour party as a traitor, despite his long history of leadership in the party previously. On this video on Youtube you can see Macdonald appealing for support in the election.
Notice that this film would have been shown in cinemas. Also notice that the style of political broadcasts is very different from what it is today.

NB Youtube may be inaccessible from computers in the university.

L1 Thirty-Nine Articles - Wikipedia

Thirty-Nine Articles - Wikipedia

This article gives a good summary of the different laws in the sixteenth century defining what religion must be in England. You will see that Elizabeth's 39 articles are a new compromise, at the end of a long process.
Elizabeth will continue to oppose, and occasionally execute, Catholics on the one hand, and dissident protestants on the other, but her compromise will last a long long time.

L1 Elizabeth I of England - Wikipedia

Elizabeth I of England - Wikipedia

A number of students missed last week's class because of the transport strikes.
Make sure you read the section in your textbook about the Elizabethan period.
the wikipedia article on Elizabeth (see link) is useful for its section on the religious changes which took place.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Classic British comedy - Two Ronnies: Opticians

YouTube - Two Ronnies: Opticians

This link takes you to one of the most famous sketches of "The Two Ronnies" a classic 1970s comedy duo.

L2 Back to the first world war - The Accrington Pals

The Accrington Pals
This is a commemorative website for the dead of the First world war from a small but very important town, Accrington (it's my home town!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

L1 - The Reformation in Scotland - John Knox

John Knox

This site gives a short description of the life of one of the most important leaders of the protestant reformation in Scotland.

L2 1924 Conservative Party Manifesto - CONSERVATIVEMANIFESTO.COM

1924 Conservative Party Manifesto -
And here is the Conservative manifesto for the same election.
The difficulty with manifestoes is that they are adressed to the people who do not always vote for the party in question - it is not necessary to convince those who always vote for your party. This means that a Conservative manifesto can often underline the "less-conservative" elements of its programme, and a Labour manifesto can often underline the "more conservative" elements of its programme.

Notice the central importance given in the Conservative manifesto to the British Empire.

L2 Civilisation 1924 Labour Party Manifesto -

1924 Labour Party Manifesto -

This link takes you to the manifesto published by the Labour Party in 1924, for the second election of that year. Manifestoes are polemical and rhetorical documents, aimed at convincing voters, and are obviously not intended to be neutral or completely objective. Notice what the manifesto says about two key issues
- Russia (the Conservatives were opposed to relations with Bolshevik Russia)
- Housing ("Homes fit for heroes" had been one of the promises of the Liberal Lloyd George.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

L1 Elizabethan England

Elizabethan England

This site, produced by American High School students, gives an interesting introduction to some aspects of Elizabethan society, such as popular entertainment, and torture!

L2 The 1926 General Strike

The Union Makes Us Strong: TUC History Online

This site gives documents, photos and cartoons form the 1926 General Strike. It is a section of the trade union history site of the TUC.

British art : London rivals NY as four Britons make top 10 of world's most powerful art figures - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

A bigger splash: London rivals NY as four Britons make top 10 of world's most powerful art figures - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

In the strange world of contemporary Art, four of the ten "most powerful figures" are British, according to this article in The Independent.
The photo shows a work by Damian Hirst, a platinum skull encrusted with diamonds, which sold for tens of millions of pounds.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Listening : Listen to literature on MP3

Lit to Go: MP3 Stories and Poems

If you want to listen to classic literature on your MP3 player, you can download it free from this site.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

L1 Tudor architecture King's College Chapel, Cambridge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

King's College Chapel, Cambridge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One of the most famous examples of surviving architecture from the Tudor period.

L2 Pop stars of the first world war (2)

George Robey had previously been famous for his comic performances, but in 1916 he had a smash hit with a romantic song "If you were the only girl in the world", which is still known today. Romantic songs were much less common in popular music at this time than they are today.

L2 Pop stars of the First World War

Vesta Tilley, a male impersonator, sang satirical songs such as "I've got a bit of a blighty one" (about a soldier happy to be wounded so he can be sent home) and "The army of today's all right".

Monday, October 08, 2007

L1 Henry's Reformation, a simple introduction

::Henry's Reformation::
The link above goes to a site for English schoolchildren, which gives you a very simple introduction to what Henry did to the Church in England.

L2 Civilisation britannique - A multimedia history of World War One

First World War.com - A multimedia history of World War One
On this site you will find a large number of sources - photos, songs and texts, to help give you some feeling for the time of the First World war.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Photos - civilisation britannique


On this site you can find a series of photos on different themes connected to the study of Anglophone civilizations. For example there is a series of photos of Belfast, and a series of photos of the sites of the First World War.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Radio britannique - 40ème anniversaire

BBC - Radio 1 - Home

Hier on fêtait le 40ème anniversaire des stations de la radio publique britannique.
Ce lien vous dirige vers Radio 1, dont le slogan a toujours été "The Best in new music".